If you’ve raised your pit-bull from pup to adult dog, then chances are you are very familiar with her behavior patterns. Moreover, that also means you can predict any changes in behavior and take corrective measures if need be. However, if your pitbulls suddenly snap unpredictably at anyone or anything, then this is cause for alarm.
After all, the last thing you want is for her to bite someone especially at this point where Pitbulls are blamed indiscriminately for dog bites.
Let’s start by saying this. Snapping is not just restricted to Pitbulls. Any dog can snap at someone.
And here is a bit of perspective. Pitbull is a general term that describes, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and the American bully. Moreover, saying that only these three breeds are prone to snapping is stating that they are peculiar and somehow different from all other dog breeds in existence. Really? C’mon! Any dog can snap!
Let’s find out more about the causes of sudden aggression and what we can do about it.
Why dogs suddenly snap
Dogs exhibit aggression towards humans and other dogs in a variety of ways. They can bark, lunge, snap, snarl, growl, nip as well as bite. Furthermore, dogs will also show leash aggression. This when your pooch suddenly lunges at another person or dog when on a leash.
There is a lot of false information that Pitbulls suddenly snap. One thing is certain, a generally healthy and happy dog will not snap. If they do, then this is a red flag and is a behavioral problem. Moreover, always enlist the help of your veterinary to find out the root cause of the sudden change in behavior.
Some of the common reasons why dogs including Pitbulls snap include:
When your Pitbulls sudden snap, it may leave you wondering about the sudden change in behavior. Fear can cause a dog to feel the need to protect themselves. Moreover, they could snap at a perceived threat.
Therefore, it is highly important to find out what caused the sudden aggression. This will help you find the best solution and avoid future incidences.
2. Health concerns
Several health issues might cause your dog to act aggressively. For instance, older dogs may experience dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction.
Other health issues, however, may affect younger dogs as well. Think of brain damage from tumors, previous trauma, and thyroid issues. All these could cause the dog to act unpredictably. Furthermore, if you notice that your dog is lethargic, is vomiting or has diarrhea, then this is information you need to share with the vet.
Sometimes Pitbulls suddenly snap due to injury or pain and bite someone who gets too close. Your vet can help you find out if there is something wrong with the dog by performing a physical examination.
The vet may also check inside the dog’s mouth. Moreover, sometimes your dog may have a sharp object stuck in their mouth that is causing him pain. This is something that the vet can sort out quite quickly.
If you discover that your dog has an injury, it is crucial to give the pooch some space and let him recover.
4. Food aggression
A dog that is food aggressive may suddenly snap if an unknowing person walks close to them. On the other hand, the dog is possessive of an item such as a toy and snaps when someone tries to take it from them.
Food aggression or possessiveness is a behavior problem that needs to be corrected. Therefore, the dog needs behavioral training.
Dogs can get frustrated just like us. Imagine a situation where someone is constantly pressuring you and asking too much from you. Consequently, you naturally want to tell them to back off and give you some space.
The same is true with your pooch. If you are trying to teach your dog a command for example and you are putting too much pressure on them, the dog may feel frustrated and suddenly snap at you.
What to do when the dog suddenly snaps
The first step is to handle the dog in a non-aggressive way and get them to cool down. Most importantly, take the dog away from the situation and discourage the behavior. Next, contact your vet and schedule an appointment. The vet will do a physical examination and help you find out if impaired health could be the cause of the aggression.
How to handle snapping in dogs
Whether or not you can identify the cause of your pitbull snapping, it is important to take them to the vet. The vet will start out by performing a physical examination. Most importantly, this will help rule out the possibility of any injuries.
Secondly, the vet may do a blood test to find out more about your dog’s health condition. If your pooch is healthy, you will know that impaired health caused the Pitbulls suddenly snap.
If there are no physical or health conditions with your dog, the next step is to take her to a behavioral specialist. Subsequently, they will analyze your pooch’s behavior and tell you what could be the problem as well as how to correct it. Moreover, using techniques such as conditioning, and desensitization, they can modify the behavior and reduce aggression.
Sometimes the cause of snapping could be greater than you thought and the behaviorist might propose euthanizing the dog. Lastly, when undergoing behavior modification, it is crucial to ensure that the dog is not distracted. This means the training should take place in a place where the dog doesn’t see other people or pets running around.
So, do Pitbulls suddenly snap? The answer is that all dogs can snap. Start by finding out if the dog is injured or is suffering from a health condition. Once you rule these out, you can take the dog to a behavior specialist for behavior modification.